The nationally-ranked No. 7 St. Lawrence University women's hockey team defeated McGill University by the score of 5-4 in an exhibition contest on Wednesday evening at Appleton Arena. Junior Dayle Wilkinson scored the overtime game-winner, while senior captain Kelly Sabatine scored a hat trick including the game-tying goal.
St. Lawrence closed with a 29-20 advantage in shots and was 1-of-6 on the power play. McGill was 0-for-4 with the extra skater, but rallied from a 3-0 deficit and took the lead briefly before Sabatine tied it late in the third.
"That was certainly a thrilling finish against a McGill team that always gives us a good game," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "We're excited to get the regular season underway on Friday against Clarkson."
Sabatine needed only 21 seconds to get on the scoreboard, as she gave the Saints a 1-0 lead on the first shift of the game. A shot from the point by Mel Desrochers was tipped by rookie Kailee Heidersbach right to Sabatine on the door step for the easy finish past Hough.
St. Lawrence would carry a 2-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to first-year defenseman Victoria Leimgardt, whose slap shot from the blue line beat Hough inside the left post at 14:36 of the first period. Sophomore Jessa McAuliffe assisted on the goal.
Sabatine's second of the game stretched the lead to 3-0 after a dazzling spin pass by junior Rylee Smith set the Hamilton, ON native up in the slot. However, McGill would start to curb the momentum with a short-handed goal at 15:02 of the second period, as Gabrielle Davidson finished a well-executed two-on-one with Leslie Oles to score on St. Lawrence rookie goalie Giulia Mazzocchi to make it 3-1 after two.
The Martlets would come out clicking in the third, scoring three consecutive goals to build a 4-3 lead with 7:00 minutes to play. Katia Clement-Heydra made it 3-2 before Darragh Hamilton scored on a three-on-one try against rookie goalie Mikaela Thompson, who replaced Mazzocchi at the start of the third, to level the scoring at 3-3. McGill took its first lead on a goal by Kim Ton-That at 13:00, with a shot that re-directed off a St. Lawrence player past Thompson.
Sabatine came to the rescue with a mere 2:12 to play, as she converted on a power play try to even the game at 4-4 to force overtime. Sophomore Amanda Boulier found Smith near the post, and she quickly tapped a pass through the crease to Sabatine who again finished the play for the hat trick and a 4-4 game.
With the teams opting to skate 4-on-4 in the overtime session, the Saints used their speed to generate a scoring bid. Smith again got the play started, carrying the puck into the offensive zone and finding Sabatine. With the defense swarming to her, she slid a pass to Wilkinson in the slot and the Stouffville, ON native lifted the puck past Hough's glove into the upper-corner for her first collegiate goal and the overtime winner.
Hough closed with 24 saves, including a game-high 13 in the third period while her team rallied. Three St. Lawrence goaltenders combined for 16 saves, including Mazzocchi's team-high seven in the second period. Thompson had six in the third and sophomore Carmen MacDonald made three in the first.
St. Lawrence will take on North Country rival Clarkson University in a home-and-home series this weekend, with the opening game at Appleton Arena on Friday, October 5 at 7:00pm.